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s richards 12-13-2006 07:07 PM

3 switches 1 light. need 2 lights 2 switches. Im desprete
I have an older house, Aluminum wireing.. my main light inside my front door has 3 seperate switches/ I want to add another light to my hallway and use one of the existing switches.
inside the light fixture is 3 sets of wires. 2 cosist of a bare ground and black and white. the 3rd is blk/wht/red/ and a bare ground..
I have cut holes to install 2 new boxes and want to close the existing bow and extand the wireing to the 2 new ones. 1 usine 2 switches and the other with a single switch. please help .. what to do next ???

Im renovating and this is holding everything back.

any help is appreciated. thanks

Mikedks 12-14-2006 09:13 AM

there are plenty of electricians and experienced DIY er's on this board who can help you with this. But speaking from recent hard-won experience, basic electric CAN be w/i the reach of the everyday DIYer.
My humble advice:
-Buy a basic electric book. contains all the basic switch/light wiring configurations that a DIYer would need.
-Map all circuits,switches, outlets, etc... in the whole house. How can you add capacity w/o knowing what is on the circuit?.
-Don't mess with what you don't understand(if that is the case).
-If you really want to do this, you need to provide more detailed info for the people on this board to help.
-All else fails, hire an electrician, couple hundred bucks, done in 2 hours, house not burned down.

KUIPORNG 12-14-2006 12:46 PM

so you have a four way switches - light... I do not understand what you mean by have only one of the switch controlling the new light you intend to install... I think it is easy to do if you intend to have the switches (not one switch) to control the additional light as it control the other lights, that is, both lights will turn on/off at the same time... otherwise, what you want, is even hard to define logically... if what you want you cannot describe, how can you install it... sounds like you probably want to install a separte set of switch or switches to control the new light you intend to install...

s richards 12-14-2006 01:18 PM

Thanks Mikedks and KUI****G for your replys. I will like to try to expiain it again.. inside my front entrance is 1 light,controled by 3 switches.1 at front door,1 at end of hall and 1 at the top of stairs.
I have removed the light and found 3 sets of wires, 2 sets are blk/wht/and bare grd. 1 set is blk/wht/red/and a bare grd.
now what I want to do, is cover that light box and extend it to two seperate lights, with the hallway switch controlling 1 light,and the 2 remaining switches controling the other light. sounds easy?
I have aluminum wireing and Im quite handy but maybe I should get an electrician.
After testing the wires I have found only 1 set is truely live when I replace the fuse. Can you tell me why 1 wire is red,, i forgot where it was located when I disconnected it. thanks guys..

KUIPORNG 12-14-2006 01:29 PM

Actually, this does not sound easy... you really need to look at the electrical book from HD (for example) see if converting from a 4 ways switch/light circuit to a 3 ways circuit, how and if possible, then look at the book see if how and if you can use the existing wire for the other independent light/switch... it is not simple at all....

If I were you, I will leave the 4 ways circuit alone. and set up an independent regular light/switch at the hallway... and cover up the original hallway switch...

Mikedks 12-14-2006 03:07 PM

Seriously, go get the basic electric book, you won't regret it. But, you should probably start small and work upto this level project. If you dont know where the red wire goes, then you have an intrinsic problem. That being not enough knowledge to safely complete this job. I speak from experience, be careful where you want to jump in, it'll bite you. If you get the book(do you see a theme here) and understand the basics, you will find a pro on this board to help you. But I don't think you are there yet. Big dangerous job for you, small inexpensive one for pro. Leave this one alone. Just my opinion, Good Luck

Keniki 07-19-2008 03:18 PM

First of all, this does not sound like you can do what you want. Let me explain. With 1,2 and 3 or more switch circuits there is completly different wiring. With 3 or more switches, you have 2 3 way switches and 4 way switches for the additional ones. So we have 3 completly different circuits and 3 completly different types of switches that are not interchangeable. You cannot change these over without changing the wires and the switches. Thus, the switch at the top of the stairs is probably fed from one of the others and then feeds the third. Taking power off this switch to control a separate circuit is not practical as it will always be controlled by the 2 lower switches also. Thats why you have so many wires. I would guess that one of the lower switches has a hot line going to it, then 2 wires going to a second switch. Two more wires then go to the third switch. This makes it look like there are 4 wires with 2 grounds going to the second switch. The third switch gets supplied by these two wires and then feeds the light. The neutral from the light comes back to the hot from the first switch.
Now, if by chance the upper switch is the one that receives the hot and the neutral comes back to it you may be able to run another independent circuit from those two wires.
If that is not the case, I would suggest leaving the 3 switches where they are and run another line with a switch to control your new light.
If the upper switch is a 4 way switch (4 contacts) you could wire nut the 2 whites and 2 blacks and take the switch out. This will remove the switch but you will still have to run another line for your new circuit.
Good advice to buy a book or at least go to smewher and look at the boxes for 3 and 4 wire switches and see the difference in the circuits.

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